We had the good fortune of connecting with Ben Thompson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ben, is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
Cultivating a comedy career is like starting a business. For one, the entire career path has changed. Gone are the days when you can get developed by a club, start doing road work, then get put on a sitcom and take off from there. Nowadays, you have to develop your social media presence and cultivate your own audience. While this is great in terms of freedom and control, it’s also incredibly difficult in regards to saturation and the fact that you’re essentially building a brand as much as you’re building an act. To be a comedian, your act is a product and your ability to entertain is a service. And with so many comedians out there across all platforms, you have to differentiate your act and create value so people find worth in paying you attention. Value and Brand are building blocks of any business. The purists will want to crucify me for saying it, but the reality is that comedy isn’t any different; especially now more than ever.

Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
My job is comedy. Whether it be stand-up, my Youtube series, show-running, or creating sketches, everything I do is in the name of laughter. I try to set myself apart from others by telling jokes no one else is telling and making sure all of my bits say something about the world. For example, I’m working on a bit that’s inspired by my Mom not knowing how to work an Alexa. By itself, it’s a funny story. But using the story to say something about how parents can’t use technology, no matter how easy it is… that’s the kind of bit people remember because it’s unique and ubiquitous.

So on a micro level, working on bits like that get me the most excited and are also the things I’m most proud of. As silly as it sounds, I’m way more excited about finding a new line for a stand-up joke than getting 10K views on a Youtube video. Likewise, my proudest moments in comedy are all compliments from audience members and fellow comedians; my viral Tik Tok video doesn’t even crack the top ten. On a macro level, I’m really excited to see how I can translate my stand-up into a following with staying power on Youtube and Instagram. It’s nice to go viral, but I want to build a community!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My go-to for visitors is always Griffith Park. They get a small taste of LA hiking culture, they get to see the observatory and Hollywood sign, and the 20 min walk justifies a trip to House of Pies afterward! The other days, we’re beaching it. Will Rogers is my local favorite, and then I’ll take them on a trip to Hermosa or Manhattan for a day. And then one night, we’re going to the comedy store of course. Not only do they get to see their favorite comedians, but they also get a kick out of me knowing the door guys’ names. I don’t know why… The other nights, we’re joining the neighborhood bonfire. My neighbors are the best and endlessly entertaining. They’re worth a trip to LA alone.

I’m a west sider. So my favorite food spots are Benny’s Tacos, Library Alehouse, Ray’s, and Gilbert’s. If we’re getting drinks, we’re going to Sonny McLean’s or Thunderbird.

Everything else is up to who’s with me. I’ll go anywhere. Except for Hollywood Blvd. I’ll never go to Hollywood Blvd.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Shoutout to Jeff Stilson, Michael Blaustein, Adam Docksey, Johnny Pariseau, and Brandon Bisig for mentoring me in my Entertainment Journey. Shoutout to Gary Leli, Lindsay Chapin, Fanto, and Easton Gage for constantly reminding me that I’m not nearly as funny as I could be.
Shoutout to my best friends Coleton Fitzgerald, Paul Vogelor, Chris Nevers, Tyrus Larocca, Spencer Burr, and Ben Waples for reminding me that I’m not nearly as funny as I think I am.
Shoutout to Seal for no particular reason, I just like his music.
And most importantly, shoutout to my parents and brother because this is all their fault. Good and bad.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/benjamintthompson/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ben-thompson-9b1775b6/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ThompsonTBen

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ben.thompson.7967

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCY4P6F8VfXFzf6ooZeZmpaQ

Image Credits
Sharra Lou, Lindsay Chapin, Brady Campbell, Riley Hersey

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